These are the best Carrot Cake Cupcakes made from scratch! They are loaded with fresh grated carrots and pecans, and topped with delicious Cream Cheese Frosting! It will be an easy dessert recipe for Easter or any Summer party!
Why this recipe works
These Cupcakes should be light, moist, and fluffy, with evenly distributed grated carrots and chopped nuts. This recipe does exactly that, and here is why:
- Vegetable oil and apple sauce provide enough moisture, so these mini cakes won’t end up dry.
- Adding brown sugar adds more caramel flavor, because it has molasses.
- Cinnamon and all spice give a perfect touch of warmth and aroma.
- Mixing butter and cream cheese for frosting, provides the best creaminess and flavor to the icing.
How to make it
To start, mix all the dry ingredients (all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, all spice, and cinnamon) is a mixing bowl and set it aside (Photos 1-4).
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together vegetable oil, granulated and brown sugar (Photos 5-8).
Add eggs, apple sauce, and vanilla extract and whisk again (Photos 9-12).
Add dry ingredients to the mixture and mix until well combined (Photos 13-14).
Then fold in shredded carrots and chopped pecans (Photos 15-16).
Divide the mixture between 12 cupcakes liners and bake for about 20-22 minutes at 350°F, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Take them out of the oven and let sit in a baking pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.
How to make Cream Cheese Frosting
While the cupcakes are cooling off, we can start working on the frosting.
In a large bowl, beat softened butter and cream cheese together on a medium/high speed until softened (Photos 17-19).
Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla extract until smooth (Photos 20-22).
How to assemble
Now it’s time to assemble the cupcakes.
Then pipe the icing on top of the cupcakes.
You also can sprinkle the tops with finely chopped pecans.
Tips for Best Results
Grating carrots. To grate the carrots, you can use a food processor or a hand grater. I personally like to use a grater because it’s faster and less items to wash. If you decide to use a food processor, just use a “pulse” button until the carrots are finely chopped. But don’t overdo it, because you don’t want to have carrot juice.
Mixing. You never want to over mix the batter. Otherwise it will be tough. So, make sure you mix the ingredients just enough to evenly distribute the ingredients.
Frosting. It is crucial to use room temperature butter and cream cheese to get the desired creaminess and texture. If it’s too cold, your icing will be lumpy. If it’s melting, it will be too runny and the icing won’t hold the shape.
Options and Substitutions
Pecans. If you don’t have pecans, you can use walnuts instead. If you are allergic to nuts in general, just skip them.
Applesauce. Don’t have applesauce? Not a problem! Just use Greek yogurt or sour cream instead.
Vegetable Oil. If you don’t have vegetable oil, you can use coconut oil. However, the cupcakes will have some coconut flavor.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Put the cupcakes in an air-tight container and put in the refrigerator. They will stay fresh for about a week. Let them sit on the counter for about 30 minutes to warm up before serving.
You can easily freeze them up to 3 months. Place them in an air-tight container and put in the freezer. To thaw, put them in a refrigerator overnight, then take them out and keep on the counter for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Did you make this recipe?!? I’d love to know how it turned out! leave a comment and a rating below👇 thank you!
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Ingredients for Cupcakes:
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon all spice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cup finely grated carrots
- ¼ cup chopped pecans
Ingredients for Frosting:
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
How to make Carrot Cake Cupcakes:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pan with 12 cupcake liners and set aside.
- Mix all dry ingredients (all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, all spice, and cinnamon) together and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together vegetable oil, brown and granulates sugar until well combined, add eggs, unsweetened applesauce, and vanilla extract and whisk it again until smooth consistency.
- Add dry ingredients to the mixture and fold it in till well combined.
- Add shredded carrots and chopped pecans and fold it in.
- Divide the batter between 12 cupcake liners and bake for 20 minutes at 350°F. When they are ready, take them out of the oven and set aside to cool off for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.
How to make Cream Cheese Frosting:
- In a large bowl, beat softened butter and cream cheese together on a medium/high speed until softened.
- Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla extract until smooth.
Update Notes: This post was originally published in 2018, but was republished with new photos, step by step instructions, tips, and FAQs in Feb of 2020.